A packet trick using the Ace, Two, Three and Four of Spades. One by one the cards rise to the top of the packet. All except the Four which disappears entirely.
This trick originally appeared in Cardopolis magazine and was inspired by the work contained in Phil Goldstein's excellent booklet Majorminor. Daryl Martinez must also be credited as inspiration with his Twisted Aces routine.
The main point of this handling is to show that by getting rid of the four spot the rest of the routine is virtually self working. Ambitious packet handlings are often quite involved but this one is simplicity itself.
Begin with the Ace, Two, Three and Four face up on top of the deck. The cards should be in sequence with the Four uppermost. Spread the four cards to display them as you explain that they will be used for the next trick. Flip them face down on top of the deck but lift off only the top three cards with the right hand. If the right thumb injogs the Four as the cards are flippped face down onto the deck, you'll find it easy to press down on the injogged card and lift off the remaining three.
Place the deck aside and then transfer the packet of cards to the left hand where they are held face down. Flip the top card over showing it to be an Ace. Flip it face down again and Elmsley Count the three cards as four, telling the spectators that you will reverse the order of the four cards therefore placing the Ace on the bottom of the packet. Snap your fingers and turn the top card face up to show that the Ace has returned to the top of the packet.
Turn the Ace face down and apparently place it on the bottom of the packet. Actually you execute a two card push off, take the top two cards as one and place them to the bottom of the packet. With three cards only in your hand a double lift is very easy to do and this is the crux of the whole routine. Snap your right fingers as a magical gesture and execute another double lift to show that the Ace is still on top of the packet.
Turn the double down and take off the top card only placing it under the packet. Snap the right fingers and then turn over the top card to show that once again the Ace has risen to the top. Place the Ace to the bottom of the packet and explain that lest the spectators think all the cards are Aces you will perform exactly the same trick with the Two.
Another double lift is made to show the Two apparently on top of the packet. The double is turned face down and the top card is placed to the bottom of the packet. Snap the fingers and turn over the top card to reveal the Two back on top. Place the Two on the bottom of the packet explaining that what the Ace and Two can do the Three can also perform.
Another double lift is made to show the Three on top of the packet. Turn the double card down placing the top card only to the bottom of the packet as before. Snap the fingers and flip over the top card showing that the Three has returned to the top. Turn the Three face down and leave it on top of the packet.
Take the packet in the right hand and Elmsley Count the cards into the left hand. As the first three cards are counted you patter ‘While the Ace, Two, and Three can do this trick…’ the last card is retained in the right hand flicked with the right fingers and replaced beneath the packet as you continue… ’ the Four is very difficult to handle.’ The Elmsley Count subtly confirms to the spectators that you are using four cards.
You now vanish the Four using the following flourish. With the packet face down in the left hand the thumb pushes two cards to the right.
The right hand takes the two cards away from the left hand. The right thumb pulls the top card of the pair to the right.
In a continuous motion allow the lower card of the pair to fall face up onto the table. Continue moving the right hand to the right and then allow its remaining card to fall face up onto the table. The card trips off the fingers. At the same time allow the left hand card to also fall face up onto the table.
The result is that the Ace, Two and Three are all face up in a line across the table. And the Four of Spades is nowhere to be seen as you say, "... in fact the trick is so difficult that I never do the trick with the Four."
The Four is on top of the deck for subsequent reproduction if you think it necessary. Alternatively you could stage the trick differently and, as in the Martinez routine Twisted Aces you could steal away the Four and reverse it in the middle of the deck in one move. This would provide an effective finish if the Four is to be reproduced.
Naturally some scintillating patter, a dash of charm and a huge dollop of charisma would very much enhance the effect!